17.12.2009 J4 XV v Old Belvedere (A)

17/12/20098.00pmLeagueOld Belvedere9 – 8St. Marys J4 XVAway

The J4’s suffered a narrow defeat in their top of the table clash with Old Belvedere in Anglesea Road on Thursday night.

Belvo started well with their big forwards hitting rucks low and hard and giving them go forward ball in the Mary’s 22. Mary’s defence held firm though and Belvo couldn’t take advantage.

While they had a slight size advantage up front, it was very noticeable that their forwards were blowing hard and struggling to get around the pitch after just a few minutes.

After weathering the early Belvo pressure, Mary’s started to assert themselves and exert some pressure of their own. After some phases close to the line, Teddy took the ball on close-in and headed for the corner. He was tackled into touch but not before dotting the ball down (clearly visible to all on the sideline) but the ref was unsighted and awarded Belvo the lineout.

The ref awarded us a penalty inside the Belvo half after a transgression at the breakdown and Ted slotted the points for a 3-0 lead.

Mary’s continued to play well and have the better of the territory and possession but the Belvo last ditch tackling held firm.

Just before half-time however, Belvo secured clean ball at a lineout 10m inside the Mary’s half and proceeded to maul the ball down the pitch. The ref awarded them a penalty just outside the 22 and their out-half kicked the points to make it 3-3 at half-time.

Things were going well for Mary’s and this continued into the second half. We were keeping the pace of the game high and they were finding it difficult and resorted to lengthy stoppages for injuries which the ref allowed, despite the J4 league having rolling replacements to keep the game flowing.

We conceded a penalty near halfway and some words of argument handed Belvo an extra 10 metres. Their out-half kicked the points for a 6-3 lead.

Ted then missed with a lengthy penalty attempt and this was matched by a similar Belvo miss.

Indiscipline was to be our downfall. The Belvo full back fielded a deep 22 by us and launched a Garryowen but a late tackle by us saw us concede a penalty where the ball landed and then concede a further 10m for backchat. On a particularly short pitch, that’s all Belvo needed to take a 9-3 lead.

Mary’s upped the pressure for the rest of the game and Belvo conceded at least 4 penalties in the ‘red’ zone at their try line but received not even a warning from the ref. Little mistakes from us played their part but we did successfully get over the line close in, through hooker Eamon Moran, but the referee had taken up an awful position on the very narrow blindside of the ruck and the touchdown had been obscured by black and white bodies by the time he got around to where he should have been.

Finally, with 2 minutes to go, the try we so deserved arrived, with Phil Conway breaking down the blind side which led to replacement Paul Whyte scampering over for the try.

The conversion was about halfway between the posts and the touchline but on the bad side for a left-footed kicker. Ted stepped up and sent a kick that was bang on target heading for the posts. It looked like it wouldn’t have the legs but kept going and going. Unfortunately, it hit the crossbar flush on and bounced backwards.

After the restart, Belvo managed to keep us in our half for the remaining 2 minutes and clung on for the win, 9-8.

Mary’s will feel that they left the win behind with 2 moments of indiscipline costing us dear and little breaks (2 disallowed tries) going against us. We come away with a bonus point though and the resolve to return to action in January and reclaim top spot in the league.

A special mention to full-back Colm Quinn in his last game before leaving us to fill his boots in Sweden on Erasmus.

Gavin Rafferty

15. Colm Quinn 14. Nick Cunningham 13. Bartley Walsh 12. Paul Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui 10. Brian Moran 9. Ross Wynne; 1. Alan Godfrey 2. Eamon Moran 3. Ross Kelly 4. Kenny McArdle 5. Gavin Thornberry 6. Shane Timmons 7. Tim Henderson 8. Phil Conway